Plans for a more sustainable Hertfordshire take shape

Published: 21 Oct 2019

In July Hertfordshire County Council declared a climate emergency and made a commitment to develop an ambitious programme to improve sustainability in the county. As well as covering key environmental issues like climate change, biodiversity and use of resources, the Sustainable Hertfordshire strategy, will also focus on social issues like education and health care and building a thriving local economy.

Teresa Heritage, Deputy Leader of Hertfordshire County Council, said:

“We know how important sustainability issues are to our residents; they really matter to us too. The work we are embarking on now is hugely significant and we want to make sure we’re in the best position to make a real and positive impact.”

Since July, work has been taking place to inform and shape the strategy. Each of the council’s departments has been asked to put forward their own plans for how to improve the sustainability of their work and the services they deliver and commission. The strategy will cover three broad areas:

1. Lead: what are we doing at the County Council to make sure the decisions we make and policies put in place are as sustainable as they could be? This work will build on existing initiatives like the council’s Air Quality Strategy, Energy Strategy and work to promote recycling and reduce the use of single-use plastics.

2. Enable: what the council can do to enable business and residents to be more sustainable? This covers areas like planning our future travel network, so it’s easier for residents to get from A to B, on foot, by bike or on public transport.

3. Inspire: how the council can highlight and signpost other organisations and individuals to take action? This includes how the council can play a key role in encouraging good growth, so that future developments meet the needs of the county’s growing and ageing population now and in the future, as well as preserving and respecting the character of the green spaces and natural beauty which the county’s communities enjoy today.

Teresa Heritage, added:

“There’s no doubt, this is a huge challenge for the council. However, we are in a great position not just to reduce our own environmental impact, but also to help the whole county to become more sustainable. Through our policies and decision making we can help reduce carbon emissions, improve air quality, promote energy efficiency, reduce waste, promote more environmentally friendly land use and much more.”

Councillors will consider the emerging strategy and the work done since July at meetings in October. Their feedback will inform the final draft of the strategy which is due to be completed by the end of the year.